Ofcom sets out proposals for fast and reliable fibre broadband

Ofcom has announced several new proposals which will see the UK’s broadband infrastructure get an upgrade to full-fibre and obsolete the old copper network. The plans are currently in the consultation phase and the final decisions will be published in early 2021.

In order to introduce full-fibre to the whole of the UK, Ofcom said the £5 billion investment to connect rural areas being offered by the government will be accompanied by Ofcom’s plan to “vary [its] regulation for different parts of the country.” In addition, the regulator has proposed a four-point plan to support competitive investment in fibre networks, these points consist of the following items:

  1. Improving the business case for fibre investment, by setting Openreach’s wholesale prices in a way that encourages competition from new networks, as well as investment by Openreach.
  2. Protecting customers and driving competition, by making sure people can still access affordable broadband and preventing Openreach from stifling competition.
  3. Taking rural areas into the fast lane, by supporting investment by Openreach in these areas.
  4. Closing the copper network, as full-fibre is built, so Openreach does not have the unnecessary costs of running two parallel networks.

Ofcom’s Interim Chief Executive, Jonathan Oxley, said that the plans will help deliver full-fibre to the country by removing the remaining roadblocks companies face when it comes to investment and supporting competition. He said that incentivising telcos to deliver full-fibre to the whole country is necessary as people and businesses up and down the country depend on a reliable internet connection.

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